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E-Scooters officially in the Capital City

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 8:05 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The scooter company, Bird, is participating in a pilot program in the capital city with 100 of them scattered around town for people to use.

Two riders in downtown Topeka said it’s exciting to see them accessible to them.

Lonzell Lee said, “I seen them when I came out of school and I was like well this looks pretty cool I’ll give it a try and I’ve been riding all around since I got it.”

Cade Blenden said, “It makes getting around downtown easier, especially someone who works down here, get from the parking garage to work and vice-versa. Just makes it easier and more fun.”

To ride the scooter, you first have to get the Bird Scooter App on your smartphone. From there you can find locations of them all around town like the ones at Washburn Tech. From there, you have to do scan the QR code on the right handle and then it’s time to enjoy the weather and go on a joy ride.

Blenden said he rode one in Dallas, Texas a few years ago and has been asking around for when the capital city might have them available.

“I remember asking if we were ever going to have it here and getting mixed results. Like a mixed bag of results because the city bikes didn’t go all that, but seeing now seeing them come here is positive change especially with all the new renovations downtown has,” said Blenden.

Lee said if he was the creator of the scooter, he’s try to get it out quickly.

“It’s a great product. If I was the creator of this I’d say blow it up, you know, have everyone riding it,” he said.

It is $1 for a ride with an added 39-cents per minute. As well as a 15-cent Topeka City fee. Riders can get a month-long pass -- which starts from $4.99 to $14.99. Blenden said it’s worth it, especially in downtown for short-trips.

The city tweeted on Thursday the announcement of them being around. Along with the rules and requirements needed to be on one.

Among them, riders must -- yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and give an audible signal to pass, drive under 15 miles-per-hour and follow all traffic regulations related to bikes. Lee said his rides have been safe.

“When you hit a bump it slows down by itself and then if it, like if your ride is over, and it cancels it, it won’t just cut off and stop and fall forward,” he said.

Among them, riders must -- yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal to pass, drive under 15 miles per hour and follow all traffic regulations related to bikes.

All of the city’s regulations can be found on their municipal codes website.

The safety of the scooters has been discussed nationwide with riders not following rules and falling. As well as people leaving the scooters not parked in the designated sections they are supposed to be.

The rules say operators have to park their scooter on hard surfaces in either the frontage zone or amenity zone of a sidewalk, at bike racks, transit stops or bike share stations. There is designated parking locations on the Bird Scooter App as well to show drivers where to go.

Blenden said he hopes it positively impacts downtown.

“Hopefully, especially with things like Evergy Plaza hopefully becoming big in the summer. All the water parts and that. I think it’d be a great addition to downtown and hopefully do good things for it.”

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The city put 100 scooters around Topeka Thursday with several in downtown to give people access to a different form of transportation.

In 2019, the city council passed an ordinance allowing e-scooter access within city limits. You have to be 16 or older to drive it -- and if you are under 18, you have to wear a helmet.

To start your ride, you have to get the Bird Scooter App on your phone and scan the QR code on the scooter. It costs $1 for a single ride and then it is 39-cents per minute. As well as a 15-cent Topeka city fee.

One rider in downtown Topeka said he had rode one before and is excited it’s available to him and his friends.

“I rode one a couple years back, I think it’s actually the same brand, down in Dallas, Texas and I remember asking if we were ever going to have it here and getting mixed results,” said Cade Blenden. “Like a mixed bag of results because the city bikes didn’t go all that, but seeing now seeing them come here is positive change especially with all the new renovations downtown has.”

Those riding one have to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and travel at a reasonable speed.

Operators have to park their scooter on hard surfaces in either the frontage zone or amenity zone of a sidewalk, at bike racks, transit stops or bike share stations. There is designated parking locations on the bird scooter app as well to show drivers where to go.

The city tweeted out Thursday morning announcing the scooters were around town and the rules and regulations that come with riding one.

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